Devil’s Advocate II: Descent Into Hell

Cover

Title: Devil’s Advocate II

Descent Into Hell

Authors: Vickie Moseley (vmoseley@fgi.net) & Susan Proto

(STPteach@aol.com)

Completed: May, 2001

Category: X-file, MSR, MT

Spoilers:Devil’s Advocate Part 1

Summary: Mulder’s involvement in a case may be his undoing.

Archive: IMTP for the first two weeks, then MTA, the

Garden, the Pyramid, Ephemeral, Gossamer, and any other

site that has received prior written permission. All

others, please contact the authors.

Disclaimer: Mulder & Scully as well as all other

recognizable character references belong to Chris Carter,

Ten Thirteen Productions, and Twentieth Century Fox

Television. They are used here without permission. No

copyright infringement is intended. Unrecognized characters

belong to the authors.

Author’s Notes: This was written for I Made This!

Productions as one of the episodes of Virtual Season 9.

IMTP can be found at http://www.i-made-this.com/.

Thanks to our Beta-Readers, Mary, Dawn, and Sally, for

their wonderful cyberEyes for detail.

Feedback: YES!

Devil’s Advocate 2

Descent Into Hell

By Vickie Moseley

& Susan Proto (STPteach@aol.com)

Mendel Gottesman Library of Hebraica/Judaica

Yeshiva University Main Center

New York, New York

8:20 a.m.

Long, dark red tendrils poured over the dusty texts

on the table. Ringed fingers turned pages and took

notes. Finally, the pencil was placed on the table

and fingers clenched into one another to crack tired

knuckles.

She stood up and tried to stretch her back muscles,

but all she felt was a slight crack of her vertebrae.

“Better than nothing,” she sighed in tired relief.

She quickly took another glance at the clock and

realized time was definitely not on her side today.

She wanted desperately to find the documentation she

sought, but she also knew the likely odds of that

happening were about zero to none. The holiday would

be upon her before she knew it, and Deborah, her best

friend, spiritual sister, and surrogate ‘brother’s

keeper’ all rolled up into one, would be there any

second to try to whisk her away from her beloved

books.

“Beth?”

Beth Stein sighed with frustration as Deborah Rubin

appeared at the doorway to her small study room.

“Yes, Deborah, I’m almost done. I just need to find

a few more citations, and then I’ll be good to go,”

she tried to convince.

“Beth, you blew off your 8:00 class, and for what?

For this stupid obsession of yours that’s not ever

going to be looked at by one of our professors. Most

of them would probably laugh you right out of school!

And knowing you, you were planning on blowing off our

10:00 class too, weren’t you?” When she received no

reply, Deborah knew her hunch was correct. She

looked at her friend with annoyance and said, “I

don’t understand why you’re wasting your time on

this.”

Beth cringed slightly as she knew what was coming.

It was lecture #457 on the futility of studying about

the strange mystical subtexts of Judaism. Deborah

claimed it was a waste of time and money, not to

mention heretic, for anyone to even consider that the

Torah actually promoted Beth’s current obsession of

the month, exorcism in Judaic practices.

“Deb, please, don’t start…”

“Don’t start what, Beth? Trying to talk some sense

into you? Your parents are paying good money for

you to come here, my friend. What do you think

they’d say if they knew you were spending all of your

time in here reading about this… this craziness?

You’re really going to risk your parents’ wrath just

to learn about ‘dibbukim’ and exorcisms? Why? What

can you possibly hope to accomplish?”

Deborah’s diatribe was well rehearsed; Beth had heard

these same words and then some, many times over the

last several weeks, ever since Deborah had heard of

her best friend’s latest preoccupation. Beth’s

fascination with Jewish Mysticism and the Kabbalah

had actually begun during the early months of summer.

“Look, I have a 10:00 class which I don’t plan on

being late for. I’ll meet you back at the dorm,”

informed Deborah.

“What time does the residence hall close down today?”

Beth asked wearily. She’d been working on the

research since the library opened early that morning

knowing her time would be limited due to the

impending holiday.

“1:00, Girlfriend, and from the look of things,

you’re nowhere near ready to beat that deadline, are

you?” Deborah asked, exasperated.

“Well, I was kind of counting on a certain best

friend to drive my car over and pick up both our bags

after her 10:00 class was over, since she had to go

back and pick up her own bag anyway?” Beth

questioned while attempting her most winsome look.

However, it was met by an expression of total

annoyance.

“I don’t understand you,” Deborah said shaking her

head.

“Deborah, please, I don’t have time for–” she

pleaded, but Deborah would have nothing of it.

“You don’t have time? For what, Beth? You can’t

possibly think you’re going to discover all the

mysteries of the universe before Kol Nidre Services

tonight, can you? If we’re not sitting in that

synagogue, next to each of our parents at 6:24

tonight, I… I… I don’t know what will happen.”

“Listen, can we please put this little debate of ours

on hold? Look, I’ll meet you outside of the library

when your class is over,” bargained Beth.

Deborah shook her head in resignation. Beth had done

it to her again; the grand manipulator did the deed

once more. All Deborah could do was throw her hands

up in defeat and say, “Be outside waiting for me, or

I won’t even let my dread of driving the Hutchinson

River Parkway stop me from taking off without you,

Stein. Got that?”

“Got it,” she replied with a smile.

“I’m serious, Beth. If you’re not out there, I’m

leaving. I won’t come in and look for you either;

I’m just taking off.”

“I got it, I got it,” she replied. “And if I’m not

there, just go. I’ll take the train home if I get

hung up,” she added.

“Fine, just fine,” the tall brunette responded,

standing in a rigid posture. Today wasn’t the first

time she and her best friend had this debate, but it

was the first time Deborah had ever felt that angry

about it. There was an ominous feeling of dread in

the air, and Deborah was sensing every molecule of

it. Suddenly she felt herself shudder from a cold

draft that seemed to blow right through her. She

looked at her best friend and pleaded, “Please, Beth,

be outside when I get here, or I will leave. I won’t

wait for you because of… of this foolish fixation

of yours.”

“I told you it’s okay for you to go if I’m not there.

Don’t worry. I actually understand,” she insisted,

and then added just as Deborah turned to leave, “Love

you too, Deb.”

“Yeah, yeah,” she waved her hand in response as well.

Beth resumed her tedious research as she read the

ancient, scholarly texts. She read with fascination

the stories of exorcism in the Talmudic literature.

Rabbi Simon ben Yochai was just one such storyteller,

one of the most famous, who lived in the second

century of the Common Era. She poured over one of

the reference sources, a collection of sermons from

the text ‘Beth Midrash.’

She read on, dealing with the translations as only a

scholar could, oblivious to the fact that time as

she knew it had just stopped.

FBI

New York Regional Office

9:15 a.m.

Scully hung up the phone and chewed on her lip. Tom

Alexander was dead. Tom Alexander, same age as her

partner, was dead. And with all the possible horrors

an agent in the FBI faced every day, he was dead from

a car accident. It shook her to the core.

She felt a little guilty that her very next thought

was how Tom’s death was affecting Mulder. She’d met

Tom only once, at a budget meeting. She remembered

how Mulder and he had talked, exchanged a joke and

then the meeting was called to order and the fun

times ended quickly. Mulder hadn’t told her then

that he and Tom had been roommates at Quantico, but

that didn’t bother her. As far as she knew, Mulder

didn’t know whom she had roomed with either. But it

indicated how close Tom was to Mulder. A closeness

that she’d subconsciously relied on when Mulder said

he was going off to Biloxi to work on this case.

She knew why she couldn’t be with him on this one.

He was working in a consulting position. She had to

wait to be asked, and so far the team hadn’t needed

another pathologist. So, as Mulder had requested,

she’d stayed behind. But in the back of her mind,

she’d been relieved that Mulder had a friend with

him, even if that friend was the special agent in

charge. She could relax a little, go about her work

in the office, secure in the knowledge that if things

got too bad, someone could take care of her partner

until she could get there herself. Tom was her

safety net as much as he was Mulder’s.

She never counted on that safety net suddenly being

yanked away.

She sat in stunned silence for a moment. All around

her, agents were getting coffee, settling in for

another workday. The thought washed over her like a

wave from the ocean. It wasn’t a vision, just a

feeling that left her cold and shaking slightly.

Mulder was alone. All alone and hurting. He needed

her, now, immediately. She had to get down to

Biloxi. She had to get on a plane as quickly as

possible. She reached across the desk and grabbed

the heavy New York Yellow Pages, flipping quickly to

‘airlines.’

There was no need to go by her motel room; her bags

were packed and sitting by the desk. She grabbed

them, hoisting them to her shoulder and pulling out

her cell phone as she walked toward the elevator.

She placed a quick call to Monsey to inform Reuven

Steiger that exhuming the body of Rebbe Zimmerman was

not going to produce the revelation she and the task

force had hoped.

She had awakened with the decision to call Mr.

Steiger that very morning to cancel their meeting and

Tom’s death just cemented her resolve. Now she had

to get down to Biloxi and be with her partner. She

had no doubt that Tom’s death would shatter Mulder,

and that took priority.

The line at the ticket counter was five people deep.

She thought she’d never get to the counter and when

she did it wasn’t much better.

“A three hour lay over in Atlanta?” Scully cried in

exasperation. “Surely you have a direct flight to

Biloxi. Maybe into New Orleans and I can catch a

connecting flight, something that will get me there

faster,” she encouraged the woman with dark hair and

a pleasant smile.

“There are two direct flights, Agent Scully,” the

woman assured her. “The first one departed at 7:25

this morning, so you’re an hour late for that one.

The second one departs at 12:15, but that would put

you in Biloxi–”

“Later than the flight with the stop over,” Scully

sighed in resignation. “OK, I’ll take the flight

that leaves in 20 minutes with the layover. But

upgrade that ticket. I’ll be flying first class.”

First class was not everything it was cracked up to

be, she decided as she stared down at her cut glass

bowl of canned ‘fresh fruit’ and gleaming silverware

setting on a white cloth napkin. She glanced over at

the empty seat next to her. Maybe she should have

just followed her instincts and gone down with Mulder

to Biloxi in the first place. But he’d made it clear

that wasn’t what he wanted.

In many ways, Mulder reminded her time and again of

her father. Strong in his beliefs, committed to his

path, even to the point of stepping outside the

lines. Her father had retired a captain, and that

was a source of pride, but after his death, some of

the stories that his old buddies had told about his

exploits at sea were enough to give her mother a few

more gray hairs. Her father had even had his run-ins

with authority, and was demoted or passed over for

promotion a couple of times for decisions he’d made.

So much like Mulder. She wished they’d had a chance

to meet. She closed her eyes and let the sounds of

the air conditioning lull her to sleep.

She woke up a few moments later and turned toward the

empty seat next to her. To her utter surprise, her

father was sitting there, reading the airline

magazine.

“Daddy?” she asked, wiping sleep from her eyes.

“Starbuck, watch out for him,” her father said, not

even bothering to take his eyes from the page. “He’s

dangerous.”

Even in her confusion over seeing her long dead

father, she understood what he meant. “Daddy, I

trust Mulder. I love him. And he’s not dangerous,

not to me.”

“Starbuck, don’t believe his lies. Search out the

man you know and help him back.”

“Daddy, I don’t understand! What are you talking

about? Are you talking about this case? What do you

mean?” But when she blinked and looked at the seat

again, it was empty. A steward was standing in the

aisle with the beverage cart, a cup with ice in his

hand.

“Would you care for a drink, Agent? You look like

you’ve seen a ghost! Are you all right?”

Scully shook her head to clear the hallucination.

“No, I’m fine,” she said shakily. As the steward

moved up the aisle, she thought better of her hasty

decision. “I think I’d like a glass of water, no

ice,” she corrected herself. The young man handed

her a bottle of Aquafina and a glass and moved on to

the next passenger.

Atlanta Airport

Atlanta, GA

10:50 a.m.

When they landed in Atlanta, Scully reached into her

pocket and pulled out her cellphone. Mulder’s cell

rang three times before his voice mail picked up. He

either turned it off or the battery had run out

again. She tried to calm her voice as she told him

to call her back immediately, that she was on her way

but stranded in Atlanta for a couple of hours. She

remembered then that she’d never gotten the number

for the motel where he was staying. When she called

the Biloxi office, the tearful secretary informed her

that she hadn’t seen Agent Mulder or Agent Andrews

yet that morning and assumed they were either still

at the hospital or at their motel.

Her anxiety only increased the longer she waited. On

the television in the passenger lounge, CNN reported

that the head of the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit,

Special Agent Thomas Alexander, 39, of Gaithersburg,

Maryland had been killed in a car accident. The

report said that Special Agent Alexander was working

on a case of a murdered Baptist minister in Biloxi

when his car was struck head on by a 18-wheeler.

The driver of the truck had a blood alcohol level of

2.1, though family members claimed he’d never taken a

drink in his life. The reporter said the FBI would

not confirm or deny reports that militant white

extremists were suspected of committing the murder

Agent Alexander had been investigating, only saying

the investigation was ongoing.

Scully watched intently, hoping for a glimpse of

Mulder, but the filmed report centered on the scene

of the accident. The crash was head on, and from the

looks of it, neither driver had a chance to swerve

because their line of sight was obstructed by a curve

in the road. The picture of Tom was the same one

she’d seen in the FBI newsletter at the time of his

appointment as head of BSU.

As soon as the report ended, her anxiety returned

tenfold. In nervous desperation, Scully set off in

search of a Starbucks stall. Along the way, she

passed a magazine and newspaper stall sporting a

display of David’s sunflower seeds. She reached into

her coat pocket for some change and bought a package.

Somehow, just the weight of the bag of seeds in her

pocket made her feel a little better.

By the time she finally found her coffee and added a

muffin because she’d missed breakfast in her haste to

check out of the motel, she heard the boarding call

for her flight and hurried back to the gate. She

remembered to switch off her cell phone just as the

flight attendant was closing the door to the plane.

LaGuardia Airport

Taxi Stand

3:45 p.m.

Dazed, Mulder walked toward the line of waiting

yellow cabs. It was early evening, and he realized

quickly that it was all for naught. He was too late.

It had happened already, though for the life of him

he couldn’t figure out how.

He motioned to the dispatcher he needed a cab, and

the dispatcher asked him where he was going.

“The school,” he said in almost a whisper.

The dispatcher strained to hear him and asked

sarcastically, “Sure. You’re in New York City and you

want to go to THE school. Listen Mistah, we got

ourselves about a million schools in town; ya think

ya could be a little more specific?”

“The university,” Mulder offered, his expression

showing an anxiety that barely reflected what he was

really feeling.

The dispatcher however finally picked up on the

distressed appearance of the potential passenger and

asked him, “Hey, Mistah, you okay? I mean, maybe you

need to see a doctor, or go to the emergency room?”

“NO!” Mulder responded emphatically. “No,” he

repeated with more restraint, “I need to go to the

university.”

“Which one? City University? New York University?

Hofstra University? C’mon Mistah, ya gotta give me

something to work with here.”

“No, not those. The Yeshiva. Yeshiva University,”

Mulder uttered softly.

“Ya know where? There’s a lot of parts to that

University, ya know,” the dispatcher stated.

“The library?” he replied hopefully.

“Well, that’s a start. Hold on,” he said as he

whistled for the next cab to move up to its rightful

place. “Hank here knows the city like the back of

his hand. Maybe he can figure out where ya need to

go.”

The next cab moved up, but before Mulder could enter

the car, the dispatcher knelt down and spoke directly

with the cabby.

“Listen, Hank, this guy, he don’t look too good, but

I’m pretty sure he’s harmless. Says he needs to go

to the library at Yeshiva University, but if he

starts getting a little goofy on you, drop him off at

the nearest ER and run like hell.”

“Gee, thanks, Gabe,” replied Hank with sarcastic

affection, “Ya always find me the most interesting

fares.”

“Get out of here, man, ya costing me money,” retorted

Gabe in kind.

Mulder entered the cab and when Hank asked him where

to, he replied, once again, “Yeshiva University, the

library.”

“Yeah, well, there’s a few of those, ya know?

There’s the Law Library, and the Medical Library, and

the General Studies Library, and then of course since

it’s Yeshiva University there’s the one that’s just

for Jewish stuff.”

“That one,” Mulder replied quickly. “The library

that they use for researching Judaic history.”

“Okay,” said Hank, “Now we’re getting somewhere.

That’s on Amsterdam Avenue.” Then as an afterthought

having taken in his passenger’s rather haggard and

disheveled appearance, he asked, “Look, that’s gonna

set you back around twenty bucks. Can you cover

that?”

Mulder silently thanked Scully for teaching him to

always carry an emergency twenty in his wallet and

pulled it out. He waved it so Hank could see it

through his rearview mirror and said, “Got it

covered.”

Hank nodded and began to drive. Rush hour added

several minutes to the normally fifteen minute drive,

and by the time Hank dropped off Mulder in front of

the Mendel Gottesman Library of Hebraic/Judaica, it

was well after 6 p.m.

“Don’t look like the place is open, does it?”

commented Hank.

Mulder passed the twenty plus a few singles through

the little window to cover the $19 dollar fee. As he

left the cab, however, Hank couldn’t help but ask,

“Hey, Mister? You sure you’re okay? I mean, ya

really don’t look too good.”

“I’m fine,” Mulder replied hurriedly but he then

turned to the cabby and really looked at him. He

gave him a sad smile and said earnestly, “But thanks,

anyway.”

Hank nodded in acknowledgment and wondered what the

guy’s story really was, but time was money and he had

to get back on the streets to make some. He shook

his head and left the haggard looking man standing on

the sidewalk.

Mulder walked right up to the main entrance and

quickly realized that the cabby was correct; the

library was obviously closed. He felt like smacking

himself in the head; it was the beginning of Yom

Kippur tonight, so of course the campus would close

down early today.

He walked around to the side of the building and

looked for another entrance. As he approached a

door, suddenly an image flashed in his mind’s eye.

“Oh, dear God!” he cried out. The flash of light

combined with a burning sensation in his chest caused

Mulder to feel almost faint. “Don’t! Please, don’t!”

he cried out, and though Mulder knew it was in vain,

he felt the urgency to get into the building to try

to stop what ever horror he was envisioning.

He pulled his weapon out of its holster and used the

handle to break open the small window in the door.

Mulder momentarily wondered if he triggered an alarm,

but he knew it was a chance he had to take. He

reached in to pull at the door handle, and though he

tried to be careful, his hand still managed to make

contact with the shards left in the window.

The pain in his hand surprised him for a second, but

it didn’t stop him from opening the door and

entering. As if now in possession of radar, he

followed a path that led directly to the small,

individual row of study rooms leaving his own red

stained path behind him. As he approached room ‘B,’

Mulder suddenly lurched forward as if in pain.

“Oh, sweet God,” he gasped out as he reached the

closed door. It was almost as if a hole was bored

through the thick, soundproof door, when he saw

flashes of dark, auburn hair cascading over a

contorted mouth. Though he listened carefully, there

was nothing more than silent screams. Her eyes

looked on with a horrified sense of belief, but they

held little in the way of acceptance. She was not

ready for her heart to stop beating; she was not

ready to meet her end.

But the stream of piercing light dissected the air

and aimed straight for her heart. Her hands flew up

in defense, with her beloved ‘Sefer ha-Razim’ held

firmly between them.

She fought valiantly, much harder than the others,

which had impressed him enormously. She was most

certainly his most formidable challenge to date. The

young student struggled for every breath, for every

heartbeat, for every bit of strength her soul could

muster.

There was but one last thing she could do to beat the

fallen angel; it was what God had taught her to do

through all of His teachings.

She forgave him.

And then she died.

Biloxi Airport

Biloxi, MS

3:30 p.m.

The flight was uneventful and not even that crowded.

The small commuter plane actually landed in Biloxi at

3:30 p.m., Central time. Scully rented a car. Her second

call to the Biloxi FBI office was somewhat more

successful than her first. Agent Andrews had called

in about 9:30 a.m. from his motel, saying that he and

Agent Mulder would be working there for the morning,

but would be attending the task force meeting

scheduled for 4 p.m. Scully thanked the woman and

asked for directions to the motel.

It never ceased to amaze Scully that any mutant,

conspirator, or just plain criminal always managed to

get access to their motel rooms, but whenever she

needed access, it was close to impossible. Once she

had the number, she’d called Mulder’s room

repeatedly, and in desperation even called Agent

Andrew’s room. No answer in either location. When

she’d arrived at the motel, she went straight to the

desk clerk. A young woman who looked barely old

enough to have a work permit greeted her with

headphones and at least three sticks of bubble gum

snapping around the silver stud in the middle of her

tongue.

“Sorry, if he’s not there, I can’t let you in,” she

said with a quick smile and went back to tapping her

inch long fake nails in time to the music in her

ears.

Scully bit her lip and pulled out her identification.

“I’m an FBI agent, the man in question is my partner

and I need to locate him–immediately! Now, if you

will please contact your manager, I’ll be happy to

explain to him that you impeded a Federal

investigation by not giving me a card key to my

partner’s room,” Scully seethed through clenched

teeth.

The girl chewed her gum for a minute, then shrugged

and ran a plastic card through the machine next to

the computer on the desk. “Hey, no skin off my ass,”

she said pleasantly. “Have a nice day,” she added as

she handed Scully the card in a small folder with the

room number on the outside.

“I don’t think that’s possible,” Scully assured the

girl grimly and went off in search of room 246.

Scully made a perfunctory knock on the door, although

she knew it was futile. Even if Mulder was in the

room, if he wasn’t answering the phone, he wouldn’t

answer the door. She half expected to find him

single-mindedly hunched over the small table, yellow

legal pads covering not just the Formica top, but

every horizontal surface in the room. He would be

scribbling frantically, his hair standing straight up

in places where his fingers had raked through it too

many times to count. He would be wearing whatever

he’d had on the day before, if he’d bothered to

change the day before, that is.

The room would smell like sweat socks and dirty

underwear because he would shoo away the maid if she

came to the door and would post the ‘do not disturb’

sign if he left. If he’d acknowledged his hunger at

some point, there’d be a waste can filled with empty

vending machine packages of Cheetos or Nacho Cheese

Doritos. If he’d hit the jackpot in the hunger

department, there might be an empty pizza box propped

against the waste can, but she doubted that. She was

the one who usually ordered the pizzas.

The card key was tricky and it took a couple of

tries. Finally, the little button glowed green, and

she opened the door with a click. The room was pitch

dark; the drapes were drawn. It was hotter than she

expected; he must have turned up the heat. She

worried about that, it usually meant he’d been having

the chills, coming down with something. He wasn’t a

kid anymore, something she knew he was avoiding with

a passion. He couldn’t keep the hours he’d kept when

he was 28, not without paying a price.

“Mulder,” she called out. The emptiness of the room

echoed back at her. She fumbled on the wall,

searching for the light switch. It flipped up with a

click and a standing floor lamp on the far side of

the room struggled to push back the darkness.

Scully gasped as she took in the sight. If she’d

just walked in on the room, without knowing the

occupant as well as she did, she would have dialed

911 and cordoned off the hallway.

The room was a shambles. A broken lamp lay next to

the bed stand that it once sat upon. The phone cord

was pulled from the wall, its cord reaching

pleadingly toward the socket but not quite reaching.

The phone itself was lying in the middle of the bed,

along with a mass of scraps of paper, many torn and

crumpled into balls. The table was covered with

empty cardboard backs to legal pads. A couple of

broken pencils crunched beneath her feet as she

walked across the floor.

She searched the room for any sign of his presence.

His garment bag hung in the closet; his suitcase lay

open on the floor. The paper wrapper from a dress

shirt was adorning the remaining lamp on the side of

the bed closest to her. He hadn’t gone very far.

He’d left his clothes.

She pulled open the dresser drawers. She was shocked

to find his running shoes in the top drawer. She’d

griped at him for years to put his shoes somewhere

that he wouldn’t trip over them in the middle of the

night, and miraculously, she had finally gotten

through to him. But aside from a Gideon’s Bible and

some sheets of motel stationary, there was nothing

else in the drawers.

She sighed and decided to check the bathroom, just in

case. She knew Mulder wasn’t there, hadn’t been

there for a couple of hours, but maybe he’d left a

clue. She was about to flip the light to the

bathroom when her cell phone rang, startling her.

She answered it with one hand as she turned and hit

the switch, flooding the small room with light.

The sight that greeted her made her stomach drop to

the floor. Black markings, made by some sort of

marker, covered the mirror, the shower curtain, even

extending to the shower enclosure.

clip_image002

LaGuardia Airport

Queens, NY

4:35 p.m.

When Skinner had hung up the phone with Kenny, he’d

immediately tried to contact Scully, but she was

apparently out of cell range. He knew it would have

been best for her to meet him at the plane in New

York, but he knew that was now unlikely. So it would

have to be him by default, and he asked Kim to make a

reservation for him on the next available shuttle to

New York’s LaGuardia Airport. He figured if the kid

could just stall Mulder, then he wouldn’t be that far

behind them in arriving.

By the time he landed he had sensed that something

was very, very wrong. He had no practical, tangible

reason for feeling that way, but needless to say,

there was a sense of foreboding that caused him to

feel a bit nauseated. He made his way from the

shuttle and headed toward the exit signs that would

lead him toward the taxi stands. He never was one to

enjoy driving in New York traffic and was more than

happy to leave that to the professionals.

When he went down the escalator, he saw a large crowd

of emergency staff rushing toward an area that was

now cordoned off. He headed that way too, realizing

there was no other place he was supposed to be at

that moment.

“Sir, I’m sorry, but this area is restricted,” said a

New York City policeman.

“Yes, but I suspect that I have business here,”

Skinner said. He pulled out his identification badge

and immediately identified himself as an assistant

director with the FBI.

“Wow, you guys sure work fast,” replied the officer

in amazement.

“I don’t understand.”

“We just found out the guy was a fibbie, and now,

here you are. That’s pretty amazing,” said the

officer with a hint of awe in his tone.

“He’s an agent? What’s his name?” asked Skinner

hoping to hide the anxiety form his voice.

“Andrews. Kenneth Andrews. Ya know him?”

Skinner realized it was totally unprofessional of

him, but the man let out a sigh of relief that it

wasn’t Mulder. Of course now he had to deal with the

fact that it was Andrews, and there was no word as

yet on Mulder.

“Yes, I know him,” Skinner replied as he brushed by

the officer. “Was there another agent with him?”

“Another agent?” echoed the officer. “No, Sir, we

found the man alone.”

Skinner nodded and then kept flashing his badge as he

made his way to the younger man who lay on a gurney

getting ready for transport. “Agent Andrews?” called

the AD in a soft voice.

“Mul-der?” rasped Kenny.

“No, Agent, it’s AD Skinner. How are you doing,

son?” he asked as he knelt by his side.

“Hurts. Where’s Mul-der?”

“I’m not sure. Do you have any idea where he is?”

“Yes. No. Maybe.”

“Well, that about covers it, doesn’t it?” Skinner

said with a smile that Kenny responded to in kind.

“Sorry,” he answered, “but I think I know. Too late.

He’s too late, and it’s not gonna stop him.”

“Agent, what the hell are you talking about?” Skinner

asked slightly exasperated.

“Sorry,” he said and then grimaced in pain as the men

lifted the gurney up to roll it to the ambulance.

Skinner asked for the name of the hospital, and when

the EMT responded, “Jamaica Hospital,” the AD

informed the younger agent that he would see that his

family was contacted as soon as possible.

“Sir,” Andrews gasped, “find him.”

Skinner nodded and then looked at the young agent who

was now in obvious pain and shock. To anyone else’s

ears, Agent Andrews plea would have sounded as one

that begged for justice and possibly even revenge.

After all, Andrews lost a lot of blood as was

evidenced by the large pool on the floor, so he had

good reason to feel that way, if that were the case.

Skinner knew better, however, and couldn’t help but

wonder what really had happened, and where the hell

was Mulder?

Skinner found himself in the chief of security’s

office at the airport. It was a fact that Mulder was

on the flight with Andrews, but it was not yet

established that the two men ended up in the same

hallway in which Andrews was found lying unconscious

and bleeding.

It didn’t take too much cajoling on Skinner’s part to

have any and all relevant surveillance tapes pulled

up and viewed by the investigators. It also did not

take as long as Skinner initially feared to find

evidence of Mulder’s being near the scene of the

crime. In fact, since Andrews was found in a little

used corridor, there was no visual evidence of the

actual shooting, but there was tape of Mulder walking

in the main corridor nearby.

Alone.

Though it was quite evident that several frames prior

Kenny was in the area. There was no hard evidence

that Mulder had anything to do with the shooting, yet

Skinner was certain that Mulder played a role in it.

He was equally as sure that Mulder was not a willing

participant, at least not in the commonly accepted

manner of speaking, but an active participant

nonetheless.

“I need a hard copy of the photo of that man,”

Skinner informed.

“Is he our shooter?” asked the security chief.

“Did you see any evidence of him being the shooter?”

asked Skinner tersely.

“No, of course not, I was just wondering–” he

began, but then stopped and said, “I’ll get the photo

for you.”

Skinner acknowledged him and watched as he printed

out the hard copy of the missing agent.

He walked outside toward the taxi stand and pulled

out his cell phone to try Scully again. He needed

her here, damn it, and it was frustrating the hell

out of him not to be able to speak with her. When

he’d finally heard the ringing on the other end of

the line, he breathed a sigh of relief. The call was

connected, but he heard no voice.

“Scully? Are you there?” he demanded, loud enough

for her to hear it even though she hadn’t placed the

phone to her ear.

Scully fumbled and brought the phone up as she leaned

over the counter and sink to look closer at the

markings. It was Mulder’s handwriting; at least it

resembled Mulder’s handwriting. But she was having a

hard time deciphering words. In some places, it

didn’t even look like English, but some crude form of

a Middle Eastern alphabet.

“Scully!”

“I’m here, I’m here,” she mumbled into the phone.

“Oh, God, what happened?” she whispered, trying to

find anything in the scribbling that might give her a

clue, a direction in which to go.

“Scully, this is Skinner. I need you to get into the

city immediately. How long will it take to get from

Monsey?”

“I’m not in Monsey,” Scully said breathlessly, not

really even trying to focus on the conversation her

superior seemed intent on holding with her.

“Then where the hell are you? Kim said you requested

a voucher for a flight to Monsey. Are you back in

DC?”

“No, I’m in Biloxi. Sir, Tom Alexander is dead,”

Scully said quietly, hoping that was enough of an

explanation.

“I know, Scully,” Skinner replied in a hushed voice.

“I heard early this morning. But something has come

up and I need you here in New York.”

“Sir, in light of Tom’s death, I think I should be

with Mulder. Tom and Mulder were roommates at the

Academy and his death will come as a big blow to

Mulder. Remember our conversation of the other day,”

she said bluntly.

“That’s exactly what I’m talking about, Scully.

Mulder isn’t in Biloxi. He’s been sighted in New

York, at LaGuardia.”

“Sighted? Sir, what do you mean ‘sighted’? I’ve

been trying to reach him, but he doesn’t seem to have

his cell phone on. Why would he go to New York

without telling me?”

“Scully, there’s more to this. Agent Andrews is on

his way to Jamaica Hospital with a gunshot wound to

his shoulder. Scully, it looks like the shooter may

have been your partner.”

She closed her eyes and leaned heavily against the

sink counter.

“Scully? I expected some sort of denial.”

“Sir, I don’t know what to say. I don’t think Mulder

is capable of hurting anyone without cause,

especially Agent Andrews. I felt they were starting

a friendship. But sir, what I see here before me,

well, I just don’t know. Sir, I can’t say with

certainty that Mulder is in his right mind at the

moment.”

Skinner snapped the phone shut and stood somewhat

dazed over Scully’s closing words. As much as he

didn’t want to believe it, he had come to the same

conclusion.

“Sir? Sir, you wanna cab?” asked the nearby voice.

“What?” Skinner responded, confused.

“Sir, do ya need a taxi?” Upon seeing a brisk nod of

the head, Gabe asked, “Where would you like to go?”

“Jamaica Hospital,” replied Skinner.

As he waited for the taxi-stand captain to call up

the next cab in line, Skinner realized that in order

for Mulder to get anywhere he either would have had

to rent a car or grab a cab. He played a hunch and

asked, “Excuse me, but have you seen a man about six

foot one, hundred-seventy pounds? Thirty-nine years

old, good looking guy with a whole lot more hair than

I have?”

“Hey, Mistah, ya gotta know I see a lot of guys that

fit that description,” Gabe replied.

“Yes, I’m sure you do, but, well, this man might have

looked a little ill or upset, or both.”

“A little crazy, maybe?” Gabe asked warily.

“That’s possible.”

“Yeah, I may have seen him.”

Skinner pulled out the surveillance photo and showed

it to the man. “Did he look like this?”

“Yeah, that’s him. He needed to go to a university,

but he wasn’t sure which one at first. Then, it was

weird, man, I mean it was almost like he was using

some kind of ESP to figure out which school he wanted

to go to.”

“Where did he go?” asked Skinner with a hint of

irritation. He wanted the talkative man to cut to

the chase; there probably was little time to waste.

“I’m not sure. Wait a minute…Hank’s next in line.

He’s the driver who picked up your boy.” Gabe

whistled for the next cab to drive up and asked,

“Hank, ya remember that guy who was a little bent out

of shape? The one who wanted to go to the library?”

When Hank nodded he asked, “Well, which one did you

end up driving him to?”

“Yeshiva University. Mendel Gottesman Library,” Hank

answered. “He wanted the place where they had the

research on religion and stuff. Ya know?”

“Thank you. You’ve been a great help,” Skinner said

and handed the captain a five dollar bill.

Gabe nodded his thanks and opened the door for the

tall, balding man.

Skinner climbed in and when asked the destination, he

was sorely tempted to say Yeshiva’s Mendel Gottesman

Library. However he knew his place was first to tend

to the young agent in the hospital.

He pulled out his cellular and tried calling Scully

to give her the latest update, but her phone was out

of service again.

Next he called the New York Bureau office and

informed the head of VCU, Linda Harper, of the need

to check out the Yeshiva site. He went into a little

detail about the case Mulder and Andrews were working

and suggested that due to the death of Tom Alexander,

it might be best for her to meet him in person at the

site once he finished at the hospital.

She pushed for more details, specifically about

Mulder, but Skinner was able to honestly say he had

no further details at that time. He ended the

conversation and concentrated on what he needed to do

next regarding young Agent Andrews.

Yeshiva University

Amsterdam Avenue

New York, NY

7:05 p.m.

Mulder heard the voice but had difficulty placing it

with any familiar face. He tried to open his eyes,

but his eyelids felt like lead and simply wouldn’t

cooperate. He felt someone jostling him and finally

pulling him to his feet.

“Mister? Hey Mister, are you okay?” asked the

unknown man from the medallion cab.

Mulder looked around and realized he was standing

outside of the library. He felt a pain in his hand

and noticed he was bleeding. He quickly pulled out a

handkerchief and wrapped it around the wound.

“Yeah, fine,” he said hoarsely. He looked anything

but fine, but the cabby wasn’t going to argue with

him. “Gotta go back,” he muttered.

“Go back where?” the cabby asked.

“The airport,” Mulder replied.

“Which one, Mistah? LaGuardia or Kennedy?”

“LaGuardia,” he replied hoarsely. The cabby watched

as the haggard-looking man climbed in.

As if to make small talk, the cabby, who had

apparently seen everything in his experience of being

a New York cab driver, asked, “How’s your hand?”

“What?”

“Your hand. It was bleeding when I stopped and

picked you up.”

Mulder looked down at his hand as if it belonged to

someone else. “It’s fine.” Mulder remained mute for

the next few minutes, so the driver put an AM news

station on to fill in the silence.

“…and it’s traffic and weather together on the

eights. This is WCBS news, eight-eighty on your

dial. We’ve just received word that there was a

shooting at LaGuardia Airport earlier today. Here

with the details is reporter Jeff Kaplan. Jeff?”

“Harley, reports are that a special agent with the

FBI was found shot at LaGuardia Airport earlier

today. He was taken to Jamaica Hospital but his

condition is unknown at this time. When LaGuardia

Security Chief Jake Edwards, was pressed for

details, he said the FBI was already on the case.

Back to you, Harley.”

“Thanks Jeff, I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about

this situation as it unfolds.”

“Shut it off,” demanded Mulder in a tone that was

coarse and gritty.

“What?”

“I said, shut it off.”

“The radio?”

“SHUT IT OFF!”

The cabby quickly shut the radio off and debated

whether he should drop this nutcase off at the

nearest emergency room. Of course, Mr. Nutcase

decided that for him.

“Please, go to the hospital!” Mulder pleaded in a

tone that was markedly less irritable than moments

before. In fact, this time he sounded regretful and

contrite.

“You don’t want to go to the airport?” clarified the

cabbie.

“No, please, I have to get to the hospital. I have

to see what I… Just take me to Jamaica Hospital

as quickly as possible, please.”

And that’s what he did. He drove the twenty-five

minutes and dropped him off. Next, he quickly pulled

the crumpled bills out of the small container built

into the Plexiglas panel that separated the passenger

section from the driver. Finally, he waited for the

man to climb out and watched as he slammed the door

shut. It was with a great deal of relief that the

cabby drove off and continued on his shift.

Jamaica Hospital

New York, NY

7:40 p.m.

He entered through the hospital doors and knew he was

taking a chance. If anyone were really looking for

him, they would certainly have left word at the

hospital, wouldn’t they?

First, he ducked quickly into the restroom to wash

the blood off of his hand. The bleeding had finally

stopped, so he was careful not to open up the clots.

Next, he rinsed his face and tried his best to fix

his disheveled appearance. Finally, he ran his

fingers through his hair as he looked at himself in

the mirror. Mulder hoped he looked at least somewhat

presentable. There was only one way to find out.

He approached the desk and asked for the room number

of Kenneth Andrews. The elderly woman looked kindly

at him and asked how the name was spelled, since she

didn’t see it on the computer screen. Mulder

explained he was a new admittance, and perhaps he

wasn’t formally admitted yet?

“Oh, you may have just hit the nail on the head,

young man,” she replied kindly. “Was he admitted

through the emergency room?”

“Yes, ma’am,” he replied in his most polite tone.

“Well, why don’t I just call on over there and see if

they have the information?” Mulder nodded agreeably

and waited while she connected with the ER. He heard

her ask whether they recalled receiving a patient

named Andrews, Kenneth, and if he were admitted to

the hospital as of yet.

She looked a little puzzled and then asked, “They

want to know who is asking?”

Mulder nodded and pulled out his ID. “I’m an FBI

agent investigating the shooting,” he said with

authority. He quickly put his case away before she

had a chance to read his name on the badge.

“He’s an FBI agent, dear. Says he’s investigating

the shooting?”

After a few more, ‘I sees’ and a couple of more

‘Reallys’ as well as a number of ‘Oh, dears,’ the ER

receptionist apparently broke down and gave Mulder’s

go-between the information that Andrews was in the

surgical ICU for the night.

“Thank you…” Mulder paused as he stopped to read

the name tag pinned to the light blue smock,

“Marion, thank you very much for your assistance.

You’ve been very kind,” he smiled.

It didn’t surprise him that there was a guard outside

of Andrews’ cubicle. What did surprise him was his

ability to simply flash his ID and gain access to

Andrews without so much as a raised eyebrow. Mulder

wondered briefly why he was granted admittance so

quickly to an agent who’d been shot… of course, he

was also extremely relieved that he was allowed to

enter without a questioning glance.

Not that he wasn’t grateful for small miracles. He

walked quietly into the room, observing silently the

unconscious man. He noted with a grimace the

monitors that beeped in metronome style, the life

affirming information about his heart, pulse, and

respiration. He observed with a memory all too

familiar with the discomfort of the IV tubes that

delivered antibiotics to stave off infection and

morphine to knock out the pain.

The kid looked like hell, and Mulder took full

responsibility for it. The older agent felt like

he’d aged ten years in the last couple of hours; he

stumbled slightly as he moved closer to the younger

agent and worried that he’d wake Andrews. First the

carnage at the university library and now this.

Mulder knew the truth about both events. It was his

inability to control ‘It.’ It was an inability to

maintain control over his own actions that led to the

young woman’s death over at the Yeshiva, and of

course that made his shooting Kenny all the more

senseless.

Mulder now knew the woman was long dead before he’d

even arrived at the airport. Why he felt the need to

‘save’ her when she was already dead was still not

clear to him. But he’d felt the need to see for

himself what had been done; he needed to see the

horror in her eyes in order to believe what he knew

in his heart.

Yeshiva Library

Amsterdam Avenue

New York, NY

7:45 p.m.

Skinner arrived to find the area cordoned off with

the yellow police tape, as well as blocked by a

number of black-and-whites and unmarked bureau cars

parked in front of the library. He flashed his ID

and entered the building. In fact, he flashed his

badge repeatedly until he found his way to the site

of the latest killing.

It never ceased to amaze Skinner how many people were

assigned to a crime scene, especially those that

threatened to become hyperbole fodder for the ever-

vigilant media. He looked around and tried to locate

the New York Assistant Director of VCU, Linda Harper,

as he was well aware of what she looked like, even

though it had been years since they’d last seen one

another.

That was something else he noticed; the number of

women in law enforcement certainly seemed to have

increased since he was last in the field. It was a

challenge for him to have worked with the one female

agent he’d been assigned to at that time. Back then

he could have counted on one hand the number of

female bureau agents and local law enforcement that

would have been assigned to a crime scene such as

this. Now, however, there seemed to be at least a

dozen or more women working on the site. Skinner

shook his head; he was a bit embarrassed to realize

he honestly wasn’t sure how he felt about that.

He could only imagine what Agent Scully would have to

say about the doubts that managed to sneak into his

thoughts. He shook his head, so as to immediately

disperse that possibility. Next thing he heard was

his name being called rather tersely.

“AD Skinner,” came the female voice, “it’s so nice to

have one of the front office come up and show us how

to do an investigation.” He looked up to see a

comely woman in her mid-forties walking toward him

with her hand outstretched. “AD Skinner, Linda

Harper,” she said as Skinner shook the proffered

hand.

“I remember, Agent,” he replied quietly. “My memory

of the last case we worked on together is still quite

intact.” The female agent nodded slightly; her

comfort level skewed slightly, but that was apparent

only to the AD. He cleared his throat and in a

clear, professional tone asked, “What can you tell me

about the crime scene?”

“Well,” she began, “what you see is basically what

you get. I’m not sure exactly what happened here,

but given that this is surely to become a high

profile case, I felt it best to join you so that we

could collect as much information as possible, as

quickly as possible. I don’t want to be forced to

take a defensive tact when the media gets hold of

this.

“I’m worried that they’ll have a field day with this

one, AD Skinner. The eve of the holiest day on the

Jewish calendar sees a Jewish girl murdered at a

Yeshiva University library? Oh, I’m telling you,

this will be a movie of the week in no time.”

Skinner nodded his head in agreement and then asked,

“What have your people been able to find?”

“Not much,” she offered. Though there’s some blood,

there’s very little by the body. There’s a trail

that comes from the side door to the room with the

body, but there’s no evidence of a pool of blood by

the body itself. The only indication of anything

unusual in the room is that the chair is toppled

over. There’s no real evidence that there was a

struggle; the chair could have tipped when the girl

stood up.”

“What about the body? Anything unusual?” Skinner

asked, knowing full well that there would be a hole

in the girl’s chest just as there were holes in the

other victims.

“Well, if you consider a gaping crater where her

heart used to be unusual, then I’d say yes.” Harper

looked at the Assistant Director with a discerning

eye and waited for some kind of reaction to her

description. When she didn’t receive one, she looked

at him with some incredulity and, in a tone that was

much more critical than she might have intended,

said, “This has happened before.”

Skinner didn’t deny it. He couldn’t deny it. All he

could do was nod his head slightly in affirmation.

“What the hell is going on, Assistant Director? When

the hell were the rest of us going to be brought up

to speed?” she demanded.

“Harper,” he began, “You have to understand, Quantico

was only brought in on this a couple of weeks ago.

I’d only received the file late last week.”

“So what the hell do you know, Walter?” she asked

testily.

“About as much as you do, Linda,” he replied with

more than a hint of frustration.

She startled slightly at his casual use of her first

name, but then quickly regained her composure and

asked, “Which is?”

Skinner sighed and quietly informed her of the few

details he knew of Tom Alexander’s unexpected death

and of Agent Andrews’ injury. He also mentioned that

the senior profiler on the case was, at the moment,

in transit.

“In transit? Shouldn’t he be here, or does this

profiler feel he can get a better grasp of this crime

scene through astral projection?” she asked

acerbically.

“I’m sure Agent Mulder is doing exactly what he feels

needs to be done to get a better grasp on the UNSUB.”

“Mulder? Did you say Agent Mulder?” Skinner nodded,

to which Harper sighed, “What the hell did I do to

deserve Spooky Mulder on one of my high profile

cases?”

“Assistant Director Harper,” Skinner replied tersely,

“Agent FOX Mulder is one of the finest agents and

profilers this agency has ever had the privilege of

calling one of its own. Agent Mulder works for me,

and I will not tolerate any disrespect toward any of

my people. Do I make myself clear?”

“Perfectly, Walter. Perfectly. Now, just get your

D.C.’s finest’s ass here to solve this case before the

media makes mincemeat out of all of us,” she retorted

and then turned abruptly and left.

Skinner watched her as she walked away with his mouth

slightly agape. If it weren’t for the fact that he

hadn’t the first clue as to where his missing agent

was, he’d have probably thrown her tirade right back

in her face. Unfortunately, he didn’t have much of a

leg to stand on until Mulder returned. Until then,

he was going to have to do what he could to help sift

through whatever clues were available to them.

He walked carefully around the taped-off areas and

viewed the crime scene. The body was just about to

be moved, so Skinner took a look at the victim.

He wasn’t sure if he was more repulsed or frightened.

There was a hollow chasm where once was a beautiful

young woman’s unblemished body. If that weren’t bad

enough, Skinner gasped at the expression that was

frozen on her face. Her eyes were wide with horror

as though she’d been witness to life’s atrocities,

while her mouth was contorted into an expression of

disgust.

Skinner imagined Beth Stein did not die willingly; he

felt she’d fought her attacker, albeit not

physically, but certainly emotionally, for all she

was worth. If only there were hints as to who…and

why. Skinner moved around the body for one last

look. He bent down and with a gloved hand poked and

prodded gently around the body. He looked up and saw

the medical examiner that was waiting for permission

to finally move the body to the morgue.

Skinner nodded his approval and watched as two of the

ME’s assistants quickly and efficiently bagged the

victim and lifted her up onto the gurney. He

momentarily watched them wheel the body out and then

turned his attention back to the area where Beth

Stein had lain. A fleck of white caught his eye, and

Skinner reached over to pick it up. He quickly held

the small white card and noted the slight blood

splatter on it and, just as quickly, surreptitiously

placed it in his pocket.

He stood up and moved off to a corner. As he pulled

out his cell phone, he watched Linda Harper bark out

orders and maintain control of the crime scene. If

it were any other case he would probably have admired

her ability to quickly organize her people and

delegate jobs to best secure the evidence.

But this was no ordinary time. He dialed Scully’s

number and without realizing it, prayed he would get

through this time. At that very moment, the AD very

well could have had Mulder’s guilt or innocence in

his coat pocket.

Jamaica Hospital

New York, NY

8:30 p.m.

He wanted to run from the room, from what he’d done,

or been made to do, but he forced himself to walk. A

nurse was entering the room and Mulder cleared his

throat and reached out to touch her sleeve.

“How is he?” he asked, his voice rough and hoarse.

She looked at him with a cocked eyebrow until he

produced his ID. She smiled and patted his arm.

“He looks worse than he is, really. He was very

lucky. The bullet passed through cleanly, no damage

to the lung, no broken bones. He’s going to be sore

for a while, but he should be back chasing the bad

guys before you know it.” She grinned and turned

back in to the room. She didn’t hear Mulder’s very

audible sigh as he almost sank to the floor in

relief.

His reprieve was short lived. He knew he was still

going to be held responsible for the shooting. He

knew there was still something inside him, hiding,

waiting for the right moment. Or was it just a

connection, a nexus? Mulder wasn’t sure, but he

needed someplace quiet to hide and figure it all out.

He needed to go home.

Mulder stood outside the hospital, considering his

options. His easy entrance into Andrews ICU room did

not fool him into thinking he could sneak back into

the airport and take another flight. A taxi pulled

up to the curb while he was thinking. Without

hesitation he got in the back of the cab.

“Take me to the nearest rental car agency,” he said

and sat back, closing his eyes.

“Got any preferences?” the cabbie asked over his

shoulder.

“No. Just the first one you come to.” Mulder’s hand

was throbbing, and now his head was joining in on the

action. When he opened his eyes the interior of the

cab had become faded, washed out. As if he were in a

dreamscape.

“Hurry, please,” he rasped out and closed his eyes

again, but not before he caught the cabby giving him

a worried look in the rearview mirror.

A Lariat Car Rental was just a few blocks up the

street and Mulder shoved a few loose bills through

the opening in the Plexiglas. Inside the agency, a

television was on, though no one in the waiting area

seemed to be paying it any attention.

“Police and FBI sources are not disclosing the

circumstances surrounding the death of a 20 year old

college student whose body was found earlier this

evening at Yeshiva University, but FBI involvement in

the case seems to indicate foul play. On this, one

of the holiest days of the Jewish religion,

speculation that the death might have been a result

of hate crime has not been ruled out.”

Mulder turned his head away from the set and forced

himself to walk up to the counter. Half an hour

later, he was seated in a gray Ford Escort and headed

for the expressway.

He felt itchy. That was the only way to explain it.

Like it wasn’t his skin he was wearing. The cuts on

his hand burned where they made contact with the

steering wheel, but he had to use his other hand to

pull out his cell phone and hit the two buttons to

speed dial Scully’s number. Just as the third ring

started and he was convinced she’d turned the phone

off, she answered.

“Scully,” she said, and she sounded a little

breathless.

“It’s me,” he replied and he heard her gasp.

“My God, Mulder, where are you? What the hell is

going on? Did Andrews tell you I’ve been trying to

reach you? You haven’t been answering your cell

phone. And Mulder, Skinner has been looking for you,

too. Why aren’t you in Biloxi? What’s going on?”

He wasn’t listening to her laundry list of questions.

“Scully,” he broke in as she caught her breath, “I

need you to meet me.”

There was a brief silence on the other end of the

line. “Where?”

“Where I broke the mirror fighting my past.”

This was greeted by more silence. “It will take me

some time to get there.”

“I know. I’ll be waiting.”

She was quiet for a moment and he could hear his

heart pounding in his chest. “Mulder, are you all

right?” she asked hesitantly.

“I think it’s safe to answer no to that question,

Scully,” he replied.

“I’m on my way. Lock the door when you get there, I

still have the key.”

“I know,” he said, letting air fill his lungs with a

deep breath, the first one he’d had in so long he

couldn’t remember. “And Scully?”

“I love you, too, Mulder. Be safe. I’ll be there

soon. Just don’t leave without me.”

He closed the connection and shut down the phone.

The road opened up before him and he pressed the gas

down just a touch. For some reason, he couldn’t help

thinking that he would be safer when he finally

reached his destination.

Yeshiva Library

Amsterdam Avenue

11:35 p.m.

Skinner was oblivious to the cacophony of murmurs

that surrounded him, as well as the precisely

choreographed movement of the dark blue uniforms

melding with the bureaucratic grays of the agency.

He still wasn’t able to reach either of his renegade

agents, and the stress was building at having to

wonder where both Mulder and Scully were. He really

wished he were on the set of some television crime

series, like NYPD Blue. They’d have had the crime

scene wrapped up inside of ten, maybe fifteen minutes

flat. He sighed as he failed to connect with his

agent yet again.

The AD thought, ‘Just get here, Scully,’ as he

flipped his cellular closed for what seemed like the

tenth time in the last twenty minutes. As he placed

the phone in his pocket with one hand, he discreetly

held the blood stained calling card in his other. He

tried to will the words, the name on the card to

change before his eyes, but he was no more successful

at that point than he was ten minutes earlier.

He fingered it gently, knowing full well that what he

was about to do was illegal. His own breathing

stopped as he surreptitiously placed the small white

card back in his pocket.

“Just what in the hell do you think you’re doing?”

demanded an extremely irate Linda Harper.

“Harper,” he responded working as hard as he ever

worked to keep his voice even and controlled. “I’ve

just placed a call to one of my agents, a top

forensics expert, to get her here as soon as possible

to do the autopsy on this body. What have you been

doing?”

She was momentarily stunned by the AD’s quick reply,

but Linda Harper was also quick on her feet. “I’ve

been watching an assistant director of the FBI commit

obstruction of justice by palming a piece of crime

scene evidence.”

Skinner maintained his game face and said nothing.

Harper followed suit, though after several moments

passed, she held out her gloved hand. Skinner

considered his next move, but soon realized he had no

choice. He handed her the business card.

“Fox Mulder, Special Agent to the FBI, Washington,

DC,” she read aloud. “This is blood,” she said to no

one in particular, but she then looked up at the AD

and spoke in something akin to a stage whisper.

“What the hell is Spooky Mulder’s calling card doing

at my crime scene, damn it?” she practically hissed.

Skinner remained silent. He didn’t know. He was

quite sure that at that moment he didn’t want to know

either.

“AD Skinner, what do you know about this?” Harper

demanded.

“No more than you, Agent.”

“And Agent Mulder is…?” Harper inquired.

“Agent Mulder’s whereabouts are currently unknown.”

“Great, just great,” Harper muttered in disgust. “AD

Skinner,” she began, her eyes radiating a fire that

proved intimidating even to the former Marine, “do

you have any idea what is going to happen when the

New York media get their hands on this story and

start doing their little spin numbers on it? If we

don’t get some answers here, they are going to make

mincemeat out of us; and I do mean us. This is a

Bureau matter and not a concern for the locals. This

is our game to win or lose, and at this moment, it

looks like we’re going to have to forfeit this baby

before we even get our hands on the ball.”

“Assistant Director Harper… Linda,” Skinner began

in an attempt to calm his associate, “we’re not going

to forfeit anything. To be honest, I’m not sure

exactly what is going on, but I will tell you this.

Mulder’s association is explainable. You’re going to

have to trust me on this.”

“Why?” Harper retorted. “Why should I trust you? You

were about to pocket evidence as a means of

withholding information. Why the hell should I

suddenly trust you?”

Skinner had no surefire reply for her, he only knew

he had to do his best to convince her. “Linda, Fox

Mulder has had a reputation in the Bureau from even

before he was an actual agent. The moment he showed

up seasoned veterans with his analysis of the Monty

Props case, he was looked upon as a renegade, a

threat to the tried and true.

“But the fact of the matter is, Fox Mulder’s addition

to the Bureau raised the bar in our expectations of

what we hoped to garner from our profilers and

special agents. He got that reputation because he

was– he IS that good at what he does. In fact,

he’d become so good, it nearly cost him his life

because the expectation was that ‘Spooky’ Mulder was

going to solve every single serial murder case that

was brought to the Bureau’s attention.

“Agent Mulder is not the one at fault here, Linda.

There is an UNSUB on the loose that needs to be

caught; Agent Mulder is not that UNSUB. You have to

be willing to trust me in that belief, or we’re going

to be locking horns on this investigation and that

will not be of any help to either of us,” Skinner

concluded.

Harper and Skinner exchanged glances and remained

silent for several moments. Finally, Harper held out

the hand, which held Fox Mulder’s business card and

said, “I’ll reserve judgment for now, Walter, but

after I’ve had this card analyzed for prints and

blood type, we’ll talk.” She took a deep breath.

Then in a low, but surprisingly even tone, she

stated, “If I find that Fox Mulder is in any way

connected to this young girl’s death, I can promise

you that no amount of sob stories regarding his

profiling cases, or their effect on him, will prevent

me from throwing him to the wolves. Do I make myself

clear, AD Skinner?”

“Perfectly.”

Jamaica Hospital

Main Entrance

11:55 p.m.

Agent Kenneth Andrews stood outside waiting for the

cab to appear. He winced as he stood shivering

slightly as the lightweight scrubs he needed to

borrow provided little protection for his injured and

abused body. He was grateful his wallet contained

some cash and his credit cards, though he knew he’d

have to use both judiciously as he had little on hand

or in reserve.

He wasn’t sure he’d be able to pull it off. But when

he’d insisted that he had a job to do and needed to

leave the hospital, the nurse said those magic words,

‘You’re asking to leave AMA?’ It had taken Kenny a

few moments to cut through the fog and realize what

those letters meant, but eventually he made the

connection. In reality, the only time he’d ever

heard about signing yourself out ‘against medical

advice’ was on one of those television ‘movie of the

week’ stories, but now he was living proof that it

could really be done.

As he tried to find a comfortable stance, he wondered

briefly if it was the wisest move he’d ever made, but

those moments of doubt were fleeting. He knew he had

to find Mulder. Something was wrong, deadly wrong,

and he had to make sure his idol was safe and stayed

that way.

The incident back at the airport was still fuzzy, but

Kenny knew that the hand that pulled the trigger was

that of Fox Mulder’s body, but most certainly not of

his mind. Something else was in control of Mulder at

that moment, and there was nothing his mentor could

have done at that time to stop himself from shooting

the gun. Kenny knew he had to do something to make

sure Mulder wasn’t put into a similar situation where

whatever force had put itself in control of Fox

Mulder before could do it again.

He had to find him. He had to help him. Now, if he

only knew why some crazy Indian name kept popping

into his head and what the hell it actually meant.

‘Thank heavens for the Internet,’ he thought as the

cab finally arrived. He climbed in gingerly, holding

his injured arm, and told the cabby his destination.

“LaGuardia Airport, please.”

Kenny knew there were terminals with Internet access

at the airport. All he had to do was type in the

name of the place and let Yahoo do the walking. Now,

if he could just figure out how to spell the damn

thing. Quawntoke? Quonttawk? Quonatogue? He knew

he’d figure it out. He had to. Fox Mulder’s life

very well might be in his hands.

Mulder Summer House

Quonochontaug, Rhode Island

Midnight

It was getting dark by the time Mulder pulled up in

front of the white clapboard cottage just yards away

from the ocean’s noisy surf. Fumbling with his key

ring, Mulder finally found the key for the deadbolt.

He entered and locked the door behind him.

He flipped the light switch by the door but nothing

happened. When was the last time he’d paid the

utility bill on this place? Probably too long to

remember. That meant no lights and no water, since

the pump to the well was also electric. He could get

water later at the little general store up the road.

In the meantime, he located the hurricane lantern in

the living room along with a book of matches. Soon a

faint yellow glow cast dancing shadows around the

room.

Shivering violently, he looked around the room again.

It hadn’t seemed that cold outside, but the little

cottage had always held a chill. His mother

attributed it to the dampness caused by the wind and

the nearby surf. In recent years, Mulder imagined it

had more to do with human folly than humidity.

There were still several pieces of wood lying next to

the fireplace. Cedar logs, his father always paid

extra for them because they repelled termites.

Mulder set about the task before him and soon had a

roaring flame overpowering the small lantern in its

ability to create shadows.

“That’s a fine job there.”

The voice, coming from behind him in the darkened

entrance to the other room, startled him severely.

“Jesus!” Mulder cried out, falling off balance from

his crouch on the hearthstones. He put his hand out

to catch himself, catching his hand on the rough-hewn

stones and breaking the clot that had formed over the

deepest of the cuts. “Son of a bitch!”

“You’re getting warmer,” chuckled the voice.

“Who the hell are you?” Mulder demanded.

“That’s more like it,” the voice responded smoothly.

Before Mulder could move, the flames from the

fireplace blazed out of control. The flame caught

the sleeve of his suit jacket, setting it instantly

into a blazing inferno.

“Christ!” Mulder yelled, struggling to get out of the

coat or put out the fire, whichever came first.

“He’s presently out on assignment. Would you care to

leave a message on his voice mail?” The voice said,

still chuckling over its own joke and Mulder’s

frantic attempts to free himself. “Stop struggling-

you’ll only make it worse for yourself.”

“Fuck!” Mulder spit out, getting his sleeve free, but

finding that the fire had run a trail across the back

of the coat.

“Now, now, now. I thought you reserved that for your

pretty little partner.”

Mulder’s head jerked up in fury, his burning sleeve

forgotten. “Show yourself!”

“Not yet . . . but soon. And when I do, I hope

you’re ready. I do so love a good challenge.”

Bitter laughter echoed off the walls of the small

room, clashing with the shadows before they faded to

a shiver down Mulder’s spine.

He sat there on the hearth, hand bleeding and

dripping onto the stones, the flesh on his arm singed

and burned, tender and already starting to blister.

The itchy feeling was gone, finally, but in its place

was a depression that rivaled any he had known in his

life. He felt as if his entire world had just

crumbled before his eyes. His desperation when

Scully lay dying was nothing compared to what he was

now feeling. He slid his body down on the floor and

started to sob.

LaGuardia Airport

Waiting Room

12:35 a.m.

Kenny stared at the computer screen and shook his

head in dismay. Without even thinking about it, he

found his cell phone had appeared in his hand, and

he’d already hit the two digits to connect him to the

one person in the world who could help him.

“Computer nerds. What’s your default?”

“Kerry, sweetie, it’s me.”

“Oh, God, Kenny, what the hell is going on? Your mom

called me and said you’d been hurt, that you were in

the hospital! Your dad’s asked me to book us all

flights up to New York, but everything’s socked in

with fog here and we can’t get out until tomorrow–

Damn it, Kenny, I’ve been worried sick! And the

hospital wouldn’t tell me dick!”

“Kerry, honey, it’s okay, I promise. Just a scratch.

I’m fine, really. But I’m working this case, and I’m

running into a brick wall. I’ve tracked a guy down

to a town in Rhode Island, something called

Guantanimo, or Quantico, or something, hell, it’s

spelled Q-U-O-N-O-C-H-O-N-T-A-U-G, but once I get

that far I lose him. Kerry,” he pleaded in his

patented ‘help me ’cause I need you’ voice, “I need

to know why he’s going to a place I don’t even know

how to pronounce.”

“And just how do you propose to do that, Kenny?” she

asked though she already knew the answer.

“Babe, I need a big favor,” he began, hearing the

resigned sigh on the other end. “I need you to hack

into the personnel files at the Bureau and find out

if there’s anything in Mulder’s background that shows

a connection to this place.”

“Kenny, are you crazy? Those are federal documents!

Why the hell don’t you just ask someone? You told me

he has a partner; why not just call her and ask her?”

“I don’t know how to contact her and besides…” he

began, but then hesitated. He didn’t want to unduly

worry Kerry, but he wasn’t sure how else to explain

why time was of the essence. “Ker, I need you to do

this for me. The guy may be in trouble, and I don’t

want to involve anyone else until I find out for

sure.”

“If he’s in trouble, then that means you’ll be in

trouble. Kenny, what the hell have you gotten

yourself into?” she asked anxiously.

“Oh, babe,” he whispered, “I wish to hell I knew the

answer to that already, but I don’t. And I think I’m

the only one who can really help him at this point.

It’s weird, I mean, we seem to have some kind of–”

Once again he hesitated, as he wasn’t sure if his

girlfriend would really understand.

“Connection,” she completed his unspoken thought

for him.

Kenny didn’t know why he still doubted; they’d been

together for the last two years and every day she’d

managed to show him just how much she truly

understood him. There was a definite connection

between the two of them as well.

“Yeah, Ker, there’s definitely something that binds

us, but I’ll be damned if I’ve figured out what or

why. All I do know is the guy’s in trouble, and I

feel like I’m the only one who has the ability to get

him out of it.”

Kerry murmured something that Kenny didn’t quite

understand, but he knew she would do what he asked.

She told him to hold on, since it might take some

time to hack into the FBI system, but Kenny knew

better. The woman was a phenom when it came to her

hacking skills and he had no doubt that she would be

inside the Bureau files quickly.

Several minutes passed and she checked in with him.

“I’m almost in, Kenny. Spell his name for me, okay?”

He did and within the next fifteen minutes she was

back on the line with him. “Okay, babe, I’m in. The

guy has quite a background. Hmmm, Oxford U.? Smart

sonofabitch, too, isn’t he?” she murmured.

“Kerry, I’m a little short on time. Is there any

connection to Rhode Island?”

“Hold on, I’m looking. Damn, the man’s medical

records alone practically take up a gigabyte,” she

exaggerated. “Okay, here it is. Yup, Rhode Island

is listed as a summer address.” She read the street

address to him so he could write it down. While she

finished checking the file for any other details that

she felt might be pertinent, he typed in the

addresses on the MapQuest site to get door-to-door

directions. It was late, and dark, he felt like hell

and had never been to Rhode Island in his life, so he

didn’t want to take needless chances on getting lost.

“Okay, Kenny, that looks about it. Call me if you

need anything else, please,” she said with a forced

casual tone. Kenny knew that meant if he didn’t stay

in touch with her he’d be paying dearly for it when

he returned home.

“I’ll call you when I get there. According to the

map site, it should take me a little under three

hours.”

At that, he heard a loud chuckle and Kerry said, “Oh

Babe, then I won’t expect to hear from you for at

least three, three and a half.”

“Aw, c’mon, Kerry, my sense of direction isn’t that

bad,” he argued. When all he heard was more

chuckling and a short reference to a certain Sears

parking lot, he knew he’d been defeated. “Look, did

ya ever think maybe I would surprise you?”

“No, but I love you anyway. Now go, drive carefully,

and call me when you get there. Or better yet, check

in with me in a couple of hours so I know you’re

still headed in the right direction.”

“Yeah, yeah,” he said, but it was with a smile. The

woman cared about him as much as he cared about her,

and there was something very comforting about knowing

that. Especially tonight.

Mendel Gottesman Library

Yeshiva University

1:35 a.m.

The hour was getting late, and with no word from

either of his agents, Skinner was feeling more

agitated by the minute. There was little he could do

at this point other than watch the New York AD

supervise the crime scene. He observed how

determined Linda Harper was to allow no stone be left

unturned, and a cleanup that might have normally

taken a couple of hours was taking twice as long.

She was most definitely wary of the media, so she was

taking extra precautions to ensure that evidence was

meticulously catalogued and sent to the proper labs

for analysis, including the blood stained business

card that bore Fox Mulder’s name.

The AD couldn’t stand it any longer. He felt he was

helpless to do much more than stand around and watch

the proceedings before him. He took a look at his

watch, noticed the late hour, and realized he hadn’t

checked with the hospital on Agent Andrews’ condition

in quite sometime. He dialed information and was

soon connected with Jamaica Hospital. When he asked

for the surgical ICU, he was connected with the

nurses’ station.

“Good evening. This is Assistant Director Walter

Skinner of the FBI. I’m calling to find out the

condition of one of our agents, Kenneth Andrews?”

As Skinner listened to the voice on the other end, he

felt all color in his face wash away. “What? What

the hell are you talking about? The man was in the

ICU, for crying out loud!” he argued in a voice that

was loud enough to gain the attention of those around

him. Soon, Agent Harper was by his side.

“What is it? Did they locate Mulder?” she asked

anxiously.

Skinner shook his head and waved her off at the same

time. “Look, I’ll be right over and I’m going to

expect an explanation. I want whoever was on staff

at the time Agent Andrews was there to be ready to

answer some questions!” He clicked off and snapped

the cellular shut with a flourish.

“What happened?” asked a curious Harper, and then

with a slight gasp at what the other possibilities

could be, she asked, “He’s not dead, is he?”

“No,” Skinner replied quickly and with some sense of

relief for that modicum of good fortune. “He’s

gone.”

“Gone?” she echoed in confusion.

“That’s what I said, Harper,” he replied tersely,

“gone.”

“I don’t understand; if he’s not dead…”

“He signed himself out AMA,” he explained and then he

muttered under his breath, “The sonofabitch really is

Spooky, Jr.” He quickly shook off that thought and

informed his New York counterpart that he was heading

over to the hospital for some answers.

“Not by yourself, you’re not,” Harper retorted.

“What? Why not?”

“Because I want to hear the answers to some questions

that you may conveniently choose not to ask.”

“Now see here,” Skinner began angrily, “I resent the

implication that I’m not doing my job.”

Harper looked around and noted that she and the AD

were standing a discreet distance from the members of

the investigative staff. She was angry, but felt no

fear of repercussions in expressing that anger with

this particular assistant director.

“You can resent it all you want, AD Skinner,” she

began in a low, but very clear, determined tone of

voice, “but since this case is in my jurisdiction,

you will follow my lead and run with my game plan.

And since, quite frankly, you have given me little to

trust regarding your motives in aiding and abetting

Agent Mulder, I find that your indignation is a

little unwarranted. So, you will wait until I have

wrapped up here and we will go to the hospital,

together.”

And with that, Linda Harper turned on her heels, and

walked away, to which anyone who was listening very

closely might have heard a very angry and frustrated

Walter Skinner mutter, “Once a bitch, always a

bitch.”

New Haven, CT

Interstate 95

2 a.m.

Two hours later, Kenny checked in with Kerry. He was

driving more slowly than he’d hoped, but the pain of

the gunshot wound was turning out to be more than

he’d anticipated, and without the benefit of pain

killers, it was definitely slowing him down.

He worked hard to convince his girlfriend that he

wasn’t lost and that he was okay, but both of them

knew she wasn’t buying a word of it. They both also

knew that she would be accepting of it, and allow him

to do the job that he felt he needed to do.

“Kenny, you’ll be careful, won’t you?” she asked.

“Of course I will. When have you ever known me not

to be careful?” He heard her clearing her throat to

which he immediately responded, “Okay, don’t answer

that. I guess what I meant to say was that I’ll be

okay. I won’t do anything really stupid, all right?”

They spoke a few minutes more, but Kenny begged off

explaining that he wanted to make a pit stop for a

piss and some coffee. Kerry laughed and wondered

aloud when had the whispered sweet nothings in their

relationship turned into the crude realities. Kenny

chuckled at that as well and promised, “When I get

home, I will whisper sweet nothings in your ear, and

your neck, in the crook of your elbow, in your

beautiful navel, in–”

“Stop! Before you start something that will force

me to drive up and drag you back home to finish

before you’re ready, okay?” she asked breathlessly.

“Okay, okay,” he laughed lightly, and then reminded

her, “I love you, Kerry.”

He continued on with his drive.

Jamaica Hospital

NY, NY

2:05 a.m.

“Explain to me how a man with a bullet hole that is

less than 24 hours old was allowed to walk out of

this hospital?” AD Skinner demanded.

“Mr. Skinner, please,” wearily began one of the ICU

Nurses, Shira Sheth, “the man was over twenty-one,

and he signed himself AMA. We didn’t have a choice.”

“Oh, you had a choice. The man was in no condition

to be allowed to leave this facility. This is an

outrage!” Skinner seethed.

“Sir, if you’ll just calm down,” requested Constance

Howard, the ICU Charge Nurse, for what felt like the

hundredth time.

“Was there anyone else here that might have convinced

Agent Andrews to leave the hospital?” asked Harper.

Skinner looked at her as if he were blindsided by the

question; he couldn’t help but wonder if that was his

counterpart’s intent.

“No, ma’am. Mr. Andrews didn’t have any visitors

this evening. He hadn’t had anyone to visit with him

since Mr. Skinner and the other FBI agent,” offered

Nurse Sheth.

“What other agent?” pounced Harper.

“I don’t know, Ma’am; all I know is there was an

agent who came to visit him shortly after he was

brought into the ICU,” explained the young Indian

nurse.

“Was his name Fox Mulder?” Harper pursued.

“I don’t know,” Ms. Sheth replied tiredly. “I don’t

ask for the name of every visitor that appears in the

ICU,” she continued a mixture of anger and

frustration. The young nurse resented the

implication that she was somehow responsible for

Agent Andrew’s departure from the hospital. It was

his decision, and one that was within his legal

rights to make.

Skinner sighed as he suddenly came to realize he and

Harper were badgering the poor woman unjustly. “I’m

sorry,” he said quietly. “I don’t mean to imply that

it is yours or anyone else’s fault that Agent Andrews

left. He made a decision that I wish he hadn’t made,

that’s all.”

Next he looked at Harper and then at the nurses.

“Did Agent Andrews give you any indication whatsoever

about his destination? I mean, the man’s residence

is in D.C., so he’s not hopping in a cab and going home

to his bed.”

“I don’t know,” murmured both nurses, and then Connie

Howard confirmed that fact. “I’m sorry Mr. Skinner,

but the man hadn’t indicated to us one way or the

other.”

“Well, were there any other hospital staff that Agent

Andrews might have spoken with?” asked Harper

tersely.

“I’m not sure,” replied Nurse Howard with equal

animosity.

“Please,” began Skinner in an attempt to placate the

two women, “if there were any other people inside of

Agent Andrews’ room, we need to know about them.

Ladies,” he began earnestly, “it could very well be a

matter of life and death. If not for Agent Andrews,

then perhaps for a fellow officer.”

“Excuse me,” a small voice called out tentatively.

All heads turned toward a young woman standing by the

end of the nurse’s station. She wore the uniform of

a nurse, but with a small badge that indicated she

was still a student.

“Is there something you need, Andrea?” asked Ms.

Howard, grateful for the small diversion.

“Um, no, not really,” Andrea stammered, “but I, well,

I saw–” She stopped momentarily when her gaze

caught first AD Skinner’s and then Linda Harper’s.

It was the woman’s piercing stare that intimidated

her most.

“Miss?” called out Skinner softly. He could tell the

young woman was hesitant, probably nervous, but he

also knew instinctively that she had knowledge about

Andrews. He wasn’t about to let her be frightened

into not offering that information.

“Miss,” he repeated gently to get her attention,

“Andrea, if you have any information regarding Agent

Andrews’ whereabouts, I would really appreciate it if

you would tell me.” Skinner purposely said to tell

‘him,’ not the other nurses and certainly not Harper,

just ‘him.’

Andrea Richardson looked at the now very kind

demeanor of the tall, balding man and took a small

breath. If she looked only at him, and not at the

cold, harsh expression on the female assistant

director, she would be able to find her voice.

“I’d gone in late this evening to check on the

patient. When I walked in, I noticed he was in some

kind of distress. I thought he was in pain from the

gunshot wound, but then I realized he was asleep and

having a nightmare.

“At first,” she continued, all the while fixing her

gaze on Skinner, “I wasn’t sure whether to just leave

him or try to wake him up. But soon he became very

agitated and started thrashing around and I was

afraid he might pull out his IV’s. So I did. Wake

him up that is.”

When she remained silent, Skinner encouraged, “What

happened next, Andrea?”

The young woman drew in another breath and continued,

“He looked so scared. I don’t remember ever seeing a

grown man look so scared before.” She shook her head

at the memory. “Then he started talking nonsense. I

mean it was almost like the babbling you see in one

of those summer horror movies. He kept repeating the

same thing over and over, ‘It’s gonna kill him, it’s

gonna kill him like the others. Safe, he’s got to

get safe,’ and then something I didn’t understand.”

Again, she paused as if to make sure she recalled

everything perfectly, for she realized it was that

important.

However, Linda Harper had other ideas, and demanded,

“What was it? For heaven’s sake we don’t have all

night, Miss.”

Andrea jumped slightly as she was startled out of her

thoughts, but she refused to look at the female

assistant director. She returned her eyes to

Skinner’s.

“He kept saying something over and over, but I didn’t

know what it meant. I don’t think he did either.”

She saw the tall man nod encouragingly at her. “It

sounded something like ‘quota’ or ‘quinine’. He

finally asked me for a piece of paper and a pencil so

he could write it down.”

“What the hell did he write?” asked Harper.

“I don’t know,” she responded nervously, “I was

called out of the room.”

“Oh, for crying out loud,” moaned Harper.

“Wait, maybe…” stammered Andrea, and then she ducked

into the room Kenny had occupied only a couple of

hours earlier. She returned with a crumpled piece of

paper. “It was in the wastebasket. Housekeeping

hadn’t emptied it yet.” She offered the paper to AD

Skinner, who took it gratefully.

He perused the variations of the nonsense words

written on the paper, all using the letters ‘Q-U-O-N-

C-T-A-G’. It didn’t take the AD long to put two and

two together. “Spooky, Jr. strikes again,” he

mumbled to himself. “He’s gone to Quonochontaug.”

“Quonoch- What?” Harper attempted to echo.

“Quonochontaug. It’s in Rhode Island.”

“And how the hell do you know this? I mean, why

would those letters suddenly jump out at you and tell

you he’s going to Quono-something, Rhode Island?”

asked Harper incredulously.

Why indeed, wondered Skinner silently? He knew from

Fox Mulder’s history that his family had a

summerhouse in Quonochontaug. He remembered the time

Mulder’s mother suffered the stroke at the house

under somewhat mysterious circumstances, and Fox

rushed to her side. But the time he remembered most

clearly was the day Mulder almost ate his gun in that

summer home, trying to banish the demons that were

artificially placed there by an illegal drug.

“He’s going to find Mulder,” Skinner stated and then

added, “Mulder’s in trouble.”

Harper was about to question the man about why he

would make such a blatantly absurd remark without

benefit of proof, but one look at his expression told

her to remain silent. For whatever reason, Walter

Skinner was positive that Rhode Island was Agent

Andrews’ destination and that Fox Mulder was in deep

shit. Harper couldn’t explain it, nor did she think

she wanted to even try, but she believed her D.C.

counterpart.

She’d had occasion, once, to learn about the man

intimately, and she recognized that he spoke the

truth as he knew it.

And if it meant finding Spooky Mulder and getting to

the bottom of that damned Yeshiva University murder,

then she would believe Skinner was Elvis come back to

life if that’s what it took to solve the case.

“Well, let’s get a flight out,” she responded.

“It’s a small airport, there’s no flights this time

of night.”

“Then, I guess we’d better go fill the car up,

Walter; we’ve got a long drive ahead of us,” she said

with a false sweetness.

She turned without even an acknowledgment to the

medical staff that had given so much of their time.

All they felt was a cold draft as she exited the ICU

station.

Mulder Summer Residence

Quonochontaug, RI

4:05 a.m.

“Mulder?” Scully glanced at her watch again, the

illuminated dial showing 3:05 a.m. Had she switched

back to Eastern Time when the flight attendant had

announced the time zone change? Probably not, she

thought wearily. And who cared? It was too damned

late to be driving that was for certain. She was

dead on her feet.

“Mulder!” she called again, this time louder. She’d

been so tired at the airport in Providence, even

though she’d slept most of the two flights from

Biloxi. She had not bothered to try to call Mulder’s

cell phone. From past experience she knew there was

no cell service at the summerhouse.

“He’s probably asleep,” she muttered to herself as

she followed the glow of the fireplace into the

little sitting room. She expected to find him asleep

on the sofa. Instead she found him curled in a ball

on the floor in front of the hearth. He was

shivering, but the fire had heated the room to a

higher than comfortable temperature.

“Mulder,” she crooned, laying her hand on his

forehead and her hand becoming slippery with his

sweat. “Are you sick? C’mon, let’s get you up.”

After much tugging, he unfurled to a standing slump

and allowed her to help him to the sofa. Once lying

down he resumed his semi-fetal position.

clip_image004

“Why aren’t the lights on?” she asked as she

attempted to turn on the lamp next to the sofa. She

really didn’t expect an answer so she was surprised

when he responded through chattering teeth.

“Forgot t-t-to pay the b-b-bill.”

She nodded, relieved that it was something that

simple, or that he was willing to admit as much. But

his continued shivering was causing her to grow more

and more concerned.

“Mulder, what’s wrong? Are you sick? Hurt? What is

it?”

“Sick. Hurt,” he replied, his eyes never looking up

at her, only staring at the shadows on the floor by

her feet.

“Well, let me see,” she pleaded and gently pushed on

his shoulder until he was lying on his back. When

she saw the condition of his left hand and arm, she

let out a startled gasp. “Mulder! What the hell

happened?”

Mulder pull a shaky hand up and placed a trembling

finger on the tip of his nose. “On the money,

Scully,” he tried for a chuckle, but it sounded more

like a sob.

“Mulder, did you fall in the fireplace? My God, your

arm! Mulder, this is a second-degree burn! And how

did you cut yourself?”

“The fire b-b-blazed up,” he stammered. His eyes

were still focused on something behind her. She took

his face in her hands to force him to look at her, so

she could see his eyes. They were glassy and even in

the dim firelight she could see they were dilated.

She ran her hand over his forehead, brushing back

damp locks. His skin was cool to the touch, but

clammy and dripping with sweat.

“I think you’re in shock,” she told him, getting up

to go the short distance into the tiny bedroom and

coming back with a blanket.

“Did that shadow just move?” he demanded frantically,

his eyes once again focused on the dark that played

around them.

“Trick of the fire, Mulder. Nothing more,” she

assured him.

He shook his head emphatically as she tucked the

blanket around his shoulders. “I need to clean that

hand and bandage it. It probably needs a couple of

stitches. And I need to put burn ointment on your

arm. Those blisters could become infected.” She had

been fussing with the blanket and hadn’t looked back

at his face. He wasn’t listening to a word she was

saying.

“Mulder?” she shook his shoulder to get his

attention. Groggily, he turned his head toward her.

“Is there a first aid kit around here somewhere? I

would imagine everything in it has probably expired

but there might be some gauze or some petroleum

jelly. That doesn’t go bad and it would at least

protect the blisters. Where would your mom have kept

that?”

He grabbed her arm with a force she wasn’t expecting

and his eyes grew wide. “Get out, Scully. Get out

quick, before it comes back.”

“Mulder!” she pulled at his wrist to break his

crushing grip on her forearm. “Mulder, relax!

There’s no one here and no one has been here. Just

you. Now we really need to take care of your arm.”

“I don’t want to hurt you, too, Scully,” he rasped

out, tears suddenly forming in his eyes and careening

down his cheeks. “Please, I can’t hurt you. I don’t

want to hurt you. Just leave, now, while there’s

still time.”

Her heart almost broke at the sight of his anguish.

She brought her hand up to his cheek, caressing it

gently. “Mulder, I’m not leaving you. Not ever.”

In an instant his face changed and his eyes burned

with a black unspeakable evil. The voice that came

from his mouth was not Mulder’s and it froze her

heart in her chest.

“Then I guess you will die together.”

Mulder Summer House

Quonochontaug, RI

4:54 am

“Mulder, what are you talking about?” Scully asked as

calmly as her tattered nerves would allow. She’d

never seen her partner’s eyes that black, coal black

but with a fire behind them that seemed to burn right

through her. Maybe it was just a trick of the fire

in the hearth, but something in her gut told her it

was something else entirely. When he spoke, she knew

it wasn’t just the firelight.

“Get up.” He said it like the command it was and she

stood up quickly, taking a few steps backward to put

more distance between them. He rolled into a sitting

position, tossed the blanket to the floor and glared

at her with more hate than she could have imagined

one man could hold.

“Mulder, you’re not feeling well. You need to lie

down,” she said in a steady voice, hoping he couldn’t

see how much his eyes and voice were causing her to

tremble. This is Mulder, for God’s sake, she kept

repeating as a mantra to herself. He would never

hurt me, he would never hurt me, he would never . . .

As he reached behind his back for where his gun

rested in his holster, she knew she had very few

options. One was to run as fast as she could. The

second was to wait and possibly get herself killed in

the process. The third was to shoot first, wound

him, and deal with the consequences later. She’d

taken that option once before and still lived with

the guilt.

However, the idea of standing still while her

partner, her lover, killed her in cold blood was not

appealing in the least. In the fraction of a second

it took him to reach behind his back, Scully was off

and running directly through the French sliding doors

to the beach. She held her jacket over her head for

protection from the glass as it broke and cascaded

over her.

The sky was as dark as pitch; even the stars were no

longer twinkling. It was the moments before dawn

she’d marveled over as a child at how truly dark it

was just before sunrise. She could barely make out

the path before her, only guided by the pounding of

the surf on the rocks by the beach.

Scully had only been to this stretch of beach twice.

Once, when Mulder had decided to drill a few holes in

his head and then again, a few months later when he

demanded they take a weekend for themselves after the

aborted ‘team building’ conference in Florida. The

first time it had been night like it was before her

now. But the second time, they’d combed the beach at

sunset, looking for shells and driftwood for the

fireplace.

She remembered clearly the rocks that jutted out into

the surf and how the chill wind of the New England

early summer had all but frozen her to the core. She

remembered Mulder’s strong arms around her, giving

her a hug before he struggled out of his windbreaker

and wrapped it securely around her. They weren’t

sexually intimate at that time, but she’d never felt

more loved in her life than those few moments on the

beach. Whether it was the memory of that time and

hoping it would come to Mulder, too, or simply

because she knew she could hide among the rocks,

Scully hurried toward the pounding surf, never taking

the time to look behind her.

In the little bungalow, Mulder’s face broke into a

hideous scowl, but it wasn’t Mulder scowling. He was

now only a vessel, and a slightly broken one at that.

No matter, for what the possessor had planned, there

wouldn’t be need of a strong vessel, just one that

could last long enough to follow the woman to the

beach.

It would have enjoyed indulging itself a bit, but

that was a luxury it could ill afford. Ending that

one’s life was necessary, for the man Mulder was

almost as great a threat as were those it had already

dispatched.

With little thought as his bare arm caught on more

shards of glass, he ran out the same door through

which Scully had just escaped. It was dark and it

took him a moment for his eyes to adjust from the dim

light of the fireplace. He tried to listen for her

footsteps, but the unceasing pounding of the surf

drowned them out. Finally, he took off in the

direction of the water, his gun drawn and the safety

off.

Scully reached the rocks and scrambled over the

craggy surface. There were sharp places and slippery

edges. When she was younger, her brothers had often

tried to lose her by climbing trees, rocks, anything

that might otherwise deter girls not as determined as

she was. Those early experiences served her as well

as her FBI training, as she steadied slick soles on

wet and slimy seaweed and gained purchase at the cost

of the skin on the palms of her hands.

“Shit,” she muttered as another jagged edge bit into

her flesh. She had just skinned a knee on one of the

rocks, only to scrape her arm on another. But

finally she was down near the water’s level, not

daring to consider how soon the tide might cover her

hiding place. She cursed herself for not taking the

tide into account, but there was nothing to be done

about it now. She just hoped she’d be able to swim

out into the water a ways and come back onto the

beach at a point further up where she could run to

the road for help.

The surf was so loud in her ears and the spray so

distracting that she didn’t see Mulder standing and

watching her from atop of the rocks.

“Not a very safe place to sit,” he yelled down to

her. For a heartbeat she could almost believe that

it was Mulder, her Mulder, and not some horrible

being intent on her death. Then he raised his arm

and extended his gun, firing off two rounds.

The first whizzed past her head; the second clipped

the rock an inch from her shoulder, the chips

imbedding themselves in her upper arm. She stifled a

cry and looked frantically around her, weighing the

options of trying to dodge his bullets or throwing

herself into the surf. One wave crashed below her,

almost shaking her from her perch, and at that second

another bullet flew past her.

“Mulder, please, don’t do this,” she called up to

him. She was crying in earnest now, not wanting to

fire at her partner, but not wanting him to shoot at

her either.

“This is fun, but I don’t have enough rounds to keep

missing. Next time, the fun ends,” Mulder yelled, as

she bit her lip before sending a quick prayer

skyward. Scully crouched down and debated with

herself whether to stay put or dive off the rock into

the pulsating sea below.

“You know I’ll jump in after you,” he yelled with a

terrifying laugh. “Then you can both drown. You’ll

be crushed against the rocks before that, though. He

might last a little longer; he’s a swimmer. But when

he finds your body, nothing will stop him from just

sinking to the bottom and letting the sea be his

grave.”

She couldn’t move and sat mesmerized. “Mulder,” she

sobbed.

“You really don’t get it, do you? Mulder isn’t

here!”

“Then where is he? What have you done with him?”

“Sent him to Hell,” the vessel replied. “And now,

you’re going to join him.”

Mulder Summer Residence

Quonochontaug, RI

4:55 a.m.

The young agent wasn’t sure what he was going to find

at the Mulder summer home, but the profiler in him

knew it was something he’d rather not have to deal

with.

Kenny pulled up to the house noting its slightly

rundown condition. It wasn’t due to age as much as it

was to neglect. There was a difference, as it was

obvious to him that no one had lived in that house

for a very long time.

There were no lights on, but given the late hour that

didn’t surprise him. He pulled around into the

driveway, got out of his rental, and noted there were

two cars ahead of his, also rentals. He knew Mulder

was here; he wondered if Agent Scully found her way

here as well.

Suddenly Kenny felt an ominous weight in the pit of

his stomach. He walked to the front door as quickly

as his injured shoulder would allow him. Turning the

knob, but found it locked. Next he went around to

the back of the house and saw sheer curtains flapping

in the breeze as a result of the sliders being open.

It wasn’t until he stepped up right to the door that

he saw all of the glass.

“Mulder? Mulder, you in there?” he called out.

Andrews carefully wound his way around the broken

shards of glass to do a quick exploration of the

house. He continued to call out Mulder’s name,

interspersing it with Agent Scully’s as well.

The house was a shambles. Overturned furniture, a

hearthstone fire that was burning low but with ash

all around the outside of it. Lamps were smashed on

their sides.

There was a coldness to the house that passed through

Kenny and caused him to shiver. Given that the door

was wide open, that shouldn’t have surprised him, but

it was more than just the temperature. Kenny felt a

dread that was similar to the one he felt in Biloxi.

He was scared, more scared than he could ever

remember being. Something had been in this house,

something that was both threatening and dangerous.

And purely evil…

Something that was more powerful than any single

entity Agent Kenny Andrews could have ever

considered, and he knew it had Fox Mulder in its

grasp.

Now he needed to find out if it held Scully as well,

and what the hell was he going to do about it.

Interstate-95

The Rhode Island border

4:30 a.m.

“Skinner, if you don’t slow this damn car down, I’m

going to pull out my gun out and shoot.”

“Go ahead, Harper, be my guest.”

“Oh, for God’s sake, we’ve just made a three-hour

trip in only two. Would you please slow down.

You’re scaring the hell out of me!”

“Really? I didn’t think anything could scare the

inimitable Linda Harper,” he responded with nothing

short of disdain.

It was the most words they’d spoken to one another

during the entire trip.

“Oh, Walter, would you just give it a rest,” she said

through clenched teeth. “I can’t believe, after all

of these years, you still haven’t gotten over it.”

“Linda, don’t flatter yourself. There was nothing to

get over, it was the aftermath I found a little

distasteful.”

“What? You’re blaming me for your wife finding out

about our little tryst? You’ve got to be kidding!”

she exclaimed.

“Linda, the fact that you took it upon yourself to

call Sharon and ask her if she’d found a pair of your

underwear in my suitcase…you’re not really going to

sit there and tell me you don’t hold the onus of

blame for the downward spiral of my marriage?”

She responded with… a laugh. It was a sound that

sent shivers down Skinner’s spine, because the

obvious pleasure she’d felt from listening to his

fractured memories was far more distressing than the

actual, however despicable, act. He shook his head

and wondered to himself how he’d ever found her

attractive enough to take to his bed. And then he

remembered the case they were on, and he understood.

It was a case not unlike the one they were currently

working on in terms of the heinousness of it; it was

a serial murder case that had involved four victims

by the time they’d brought the rookies on board.

Though the modus operandi was different from their

present case, the results were no less devastating.

Both Walter and Linda were first year rookies on the

job. It was their first major case and both were

young, eager, and anxious to get to where the action

was. However, neither agent was really prepared for

the desolation to which they were going to be

subjected with that case. The victims were all

young, pregnant teens who were targeted by a maniac

that thought he was Jesus Christ, and whom felt it

was his duty to protect all of the Mary Magdalenes

of the world…

The only problem was that his methods were cruel,

bloody, and depraved in their actions. The girls

were placed on a cross and had their babies delivered

by mutilation. The worse part of the ordeal, if

that’s even possible, was that the girls were still

alive when their babies were cut out of them.

Walter Skinner could not deal with that knowledge,

especially after he and wife Sharon had been trying

to conceive a child with no success. Life was cruel

and the nature of that case hit him hard, but given

that he was living and breathing that case twenty-

four hours a day and didn’t want to subject his wife

to the atrocities of the case, he’d felt he had no

one to turn to.

Until Linda Harper offered her services.

And Walter Skinner had felt so needy at the time that

he hadn’t the will to walk away. Until afterwards,

and then he’d realized what an incredible, almost

insurmountable mistake he’d made, and he told Linda

that in no uncertain terms, their first time was to

be their last time.

Linda was not as understanding as Walter had hoped

she would be; his only saving grace was that the case

was solved shortly after their tryst and he was able

to return home to his wife. Unfortunately, Linda

Harper had felt used and then neglected. She had

needs too.

It wasn’t as if she’d ever intended for her

relationship with Walter to go beyond the physical;

she’d have been perfectly content to have Walter

Skinner remain her boy toy. It was the unceremonious

manner in which he’d informed her that it was over.

He said unemotionally that he couldn’t continue the

affair since he loved his wife and that was that.

He’d avoided speaking with her, even looking at her,

and the possibility of finding them alone in the same

room together was zero to none. When their

assignments were over, Walter Skinner returned home

and never looked back.

That was until Linda called his wife and inquired

about the whereabouts of her lost lingerie. Sharon

wasn’t terribly understanding after that. They made

attempts to start over, but all too soon the marriage

started on its slow but steady slide downhill.

And now the bitch had the nerve to ask him if he

blamed her for his marriage ending? He knew if he

spoke now, he’d probably spew enough venom that once

Harper finished her report on him, his ass would be

thrown out of the bureau so fast, he wouldn’t know

what hit him.

While Skinner tried to gain control over his

breathing, the shrill of a cellphone rang out. Both

ADs reached for their phones; Harper’s was the

winner.

She flipped it open and responded, “Harper.” She

listened carefully for a few moments and then said,

“Are you sure?” She unconsciously nodded to what the

voice on the other end was saying. She murmured an

occasional “uh-huh,” as well as a few, “absolutelys,”

before she repeated, “And you’re absolutely sure.

There’s no doubt about the results?”

When confirmation was attained, she thanked the

caller and flipped the cellular shut. She remained

quiet while she returned the unit to her pocket.

“Well? Are you going to give me a hint as to what

someone is so damned sure about?” asked Skinner with

obvious annoyance.

“Are you sure you want to hear it?” she asked

snidely. Upon his, albeit hesitant, nod, Harper

informed him, “It’s Spooky’s blood.”

“Shit.”

Mulder Residence

Quonochontaug, RI

5:22 a.m.

Scully closed her eyes, heard the gun go off, and

waited for the bullet to hit her. In that fraction

of a second she wondered if she’d feel it in her

chest or her head. The second drew on and nothing

happened. No pain. Nothing. She chanced to open

her eyes one at a time.

In the bright light of the new morning, she could

just make out a young man bathed in yellows and

oranges, holding a large piece of driftwood in his

right hand and panting over the body of her partner.

She was panting, the adrenaline pulsing through her

veins, her heart pounding in her chest. Fight,

flight, fight, flight. But Mulder wasn’t moving and

in the fiery light of the new sun, she could make out

the person standing over him.

“Agent Scully? Is that you?”

It took her a moment to process that she’d heard that

voice before. Then it took her more precious seconds

to remember through the fog of her recent terror

exactly when she’d heard the voice and under what

circumstances.

“Agent Andrews?” she asked, the sound of the words

almost lost among the crashing of the waves.

“Yes, ma’am. Um, do you need help? To get up here?”

Scully swallowed around the rock in her throat. “No,

no, thank you, I, uh, just give me a minute,” she

assured him and herself. “Mulder, how is Mulder?”

she asked anxiously as she scrambled back up the

crags and sharp rock face to join the young agent on

the summit.

Kenny frowned and then bent down awkwardly, his left

arm held stiffly to his body. Scully recognized the

posture, he was hurt, but not letting it show on his

face. She watched as he placed two fingers on her

partner’s neck and waited.

“He’s alive. But he’s out cold.”

Scully swayed next to him. “Good,” she whispered and

then knelt down to check for herself. “Rapid, but

it’s strong.” She ran her fingers along the side of

Mulder’s head, stopping briefly when she encountered

the damage caused by the driftwood at Kenny’s feet.

“He’s bleeding and he’s got a fairly big knot. More

than likely he has a concussion.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t know what to do,” Kenny

stammered. “I couldn’t let him shoot you…”

“Agent, it’s all right. You did the right thing,”

Scully said gently, laying a comforting hand on

Andrew’s shoulder. He winced and pulled away.

“How bad?” she asked, this time looking at the young

man so that he couldn’t deflect her gaze.

“Ah, not that bad. I mean, it hurts, yeah, but,” he

swallowed and she was certain it wasn’t a trick of

the morning light that made him look very pale. “I’m

really kinda tired right now.” He started to sway

dangerously and she grasped his right arm to steady

him.

“You need to sit down,” she ordered and helped him

lower himself to the rock.

“What about him? If he has a concussion, he needs

medical attention, doesn’t he?” Kenny asked, nodding

toward the still form of his mentor.

Scully sighed and nodded. “Yes, he does. But it’s

not going to be easy getting help. The phone in the

house hasn’t worked in years and there’s not a cell

tower for fifty miles on this stretch of beach. I’ll have

to leave you two and walk to the nearest house with a

phone. It’s about a mile up the road, if anyone

still lives there.”

Kenny could tell she was hesitant to leave him with

her partner, but it seemed more than just concern for

Mulder’s and his own medical condition. He reached

over and picked up Mulder’s gun, which was lying near

the unconscious agent. Blinking against the harsh

rays of the sun, he handed the gun to her.

“Here, you might need this. And if you have it, he

won’t,” Kenny said with a small smile.

“I’ll be right back,” Scully tried to offer the young

man a smile in return, but she was fairly certain it

didn’t make it to her lips.

“We’ll be here,” Kenny assured her.

It took her little time to make it to the house.

Coming around the corner and heading toward the road,

she saw the dark blue sedan kicking up dust on the

gravel road toward her. She stood by the side of the

road and prepared to flag down the driver, but the

car skidded to a stop before she could raise her

hand.

“Agent Scully?” Skinner’s voice boomed from the open

driver’s side window.

“Sir?” Scully called back, running over to the car.

Skinner was already out of the door and another

person, a woman Scully didn’t recognize, was getting

out of the passenger side.

“Agent Scully, have you seen Agent Mulder? Or Agent

Kenneth Andrews, for that matter?” Skinner demanded

gruffly.

Scully was a little taken aback that her superior was

so far up to speed.

“Yes, sir. I just left them, both of them, on the

rocks at the beach. Sir, Agent Mulder is injured,

he’s unconscious. And I think Agent Andrews might

have released himself from the hospital–”

“AMA, Scully, yes, I know all about it. Seems he’s

picked up a few bad habits from your partner already.

But where are they, can you lead us to them?”

Scully shot a questioning look over to the woman

standing next to Skinner. Skinner seemed to suddenly

realize they hadn’t met. “Agent Dana Scully, this is

AD Linda Harper, with the New York Bureau. Now, lead

on, please.”

Linda nodded to Scully, lips pursed and not saying a

word. Scully nodded back and turned on her heel to

lead them all back to where she’d left Kenny and

Mulder.

Kenny was still sitting much as she’d left him. When

he saw her approaching, he smiled weakly. “That was

fast,” he said, trying to stand, but falling back to

sit down hard on the rocks again.

“Stay still, Agent. The cavalry has arrived. ADs

Skinner and Harper just drove out from New York

apparently. Something about you going AMA?” Scully

accused and Kenny had the good grace to look

embarrassed.

“I had this dream,” he said, almost a whisper.

By this time, Skinner and Harper had caught up to

them on the rocks. “Agent Andrews, you realize you

invalidate your medical insurance the minute you go

AWOL,” Skinner intoned roughly.

Kenny went whiter.

“Is this Mulder?” Harper asked, the first words from

her mouth since their arrival.

“Yes,” Scully said, crouching next to her partner.

“He’s hurt. He, uh, he hit his head, on the rocks,”

Scully lied. Kenny’s eyes grazed over to the

incriminating piece of driftwood and back to Scully.

“He slipped,” she added, this directed at Kenny.

“Yeah, he slipped,” Kenny concurred, looking back at

Scully and not at the other two agents.

Linda snorted and crouched down next to the

unconscious agent. She touched two fingers to his

neck. As her fingers brushed his flesh, he stirred

and opened his eyes. She leaned closer, her face

mere inches from him.

“Agent Fox Mulder?” she asked.

Mulder groaned, blinked and then looked back at her

again. When he could focus, he was staring into

unspeakable evil.

“Agent Fox Mulder, I’m placing you under arrest for

the murder of Beth Stein.” Only Mulder could see

the black fire that had replaced Linda Harper’s

previously green eyes and the hideously twisted smile

that played on her lips.

To be continued in Devil’s Advocate Part 3

One thought on “Devil’s Advocate II: Descent Into Hell”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s